Accelerated senescence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) represents an adaptive response allowing withstand cell death. TP53, the pivotal tumor suppressor plays an important role in this process by inducing a prolonged dual state with senescence and self-renewal as potential outcomes. Molecularly, this is achieved by activating both OCT4A (POU5F1) and p21CIP1. OCT4A suppresses the excessive activity of p21 preventing the immediate precipitation of apoptosis or terminal senescence. It persists as long as sufficient cellular energy remains; generated through autophagy, itself sequestrating p16INK4A in the cytoplasm. As such, autophagic capacity is the bottleneck of these TP53-dependent senescence reversal processes, as well terminal senescence will follow if DNA damage is not ultimately repaired. In TP53 mutants the CSC-like state is boosted by stressed cells overcoming the tetraploidy barrier. These cells acquire additional DNA repair capacity through mitotic slippage and entrance to a sequence of ploidy cycles, allowing repair and sorting DNA damage, ultimately facilitating the genesis of mitotically competent daughter cells following final depolyploidisation. Again, autophagy is required to fuel this process. More detailed knowledge of these arcane processes anticipates the provision of anti-cancer drug targets, such as AURORA B kinase and Survivin, which ensure mitotic slippage and the continuity of ploidy cycles.
Part of the book: Senescence
The ectopic expression of cancer testis (CT) antigens and classic meiotic genes is characteristic and a hallmark of poor prognosis of melanoma disease. Here the potential mechanisms of meiotic influence on the cell and life cycle of malignant melanoma are reviewed in the genetic, epigenetic, and evolutionary aspects. The involved mutant B-RAF and N-RAS-induced senescence may be reversed by reprogramming, with stemness linked to meiotic landscape, possibly induced by DNA double-strand breaks at the mutual telomere hot spots. The induced by senescence mitotic slippage (reset of interphase from arrested metaphase) and resulting polyploidy trigger the meiotic ploidy cycle to function for effective DNA recombination repair, genome reduction, and escape of survivors, which enter the mitotic cycle again. The aberrant meiotic pathway in cancer is reviewed in the ancestral asexual variants; inverted meiosis is possible. The conundrum of cancer aneuploidy paradox, selection of fit clones, and the Muller’s Ratchet of inevitable accumulation of harmful mutations is discussed. The bioinformatic study of the densely connected protein interaction network of CT antigen expressed genes revealed the melanomagenesis attractor composed of PRAME and small MAGEA group in primary tumors as compared with B-RAF-mutant nevi, restructured stemness network; invasive melanoma further displays the leading role of SPANX CT antigen group; meiotic genes are expressed in all three tissue cohorts.
Part of the book: Melanoma